Sunday, July 24, 2016

Terrorism and Its Impact Upon Global Christian Mission

By Oleg Turlac

As I watch breaking news on major Western TV channels and read headlines on Internet news hubs, I realize that unfortunately things in our world do not improve. It seems like the world just started recovering from Paris terrorist attacks, when Brussels terror followed. Then there were Istanbul Airport explosions followed by hostage taking in Bangladesh...

Because our ministry takes place in a cross-cultural context and because of my many travels to Eurasia, I often think of terrorism and its impact upon Christian mission. You probably know that Istanbul is my major hub for connecting flights to the Stans. I have been in that very terminal, which was recently attacked by terrorists more than 20 times within the last 5 years. I could have easily been in place of those people that suffered because of ISIS-planned attacks. I thank God for His protection.

At the 2014 missions conference in Romania, missionaries just like us that serve in Muslim context reported that with the rise of  such radical Muslim organizations as Al Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS financial support for missionaries serving to Muslims was affected greatly. It declined rapidly. I do not know the real cause for the decline, but my guess is that Christian friends most likely began to think that since Middle Eastern radicals pose such a big threat to Israel, Middle Eastern Christians and Western civilization, ministry in that context is undesirable and is by no means safe. So, why give?

Indeed, mission work in Islamic context is quite challenging. Travel became risky. However, our Lord Jesus and his disciples never looked for easy places for preaching the Kingdom. Jesus often stood in the midst of those that despised Him and wanted Him dead (John 5:16). However, Christ did not let His cup of sorrows pass by Him. He suffered and died on the hill of Calvary, and accomplished His glorious mission having been raised from the dead on the third day. Jesus’s disciples suffered a lot too. Many experienced violent deaths.

The bottom line is that we were not promised that mission work would be easy. However, when Jesus commissioned His disciples (Mat.28), He said that He will be with them always. It is because of Him and in His name that we go into our unsafe world, proclaiming the Gospel of His Kingdom. And it is because of Him that we regard our lives not as our own  but as belonging to Him.

Let is not grow weary of going on mission and supporting Christian mission effort worldwide. May God’s name be glorified in our going and giving.